When: October 7-9, 2011
Where: Bell Mountain Wilderness - Near Ironton, Missouri (Southeastern Region)
Greetings from baxpax.org!
It's been a long summer of bugs, heat, and overgrowth, but the fall hanging season is finally here! Come join the members of Missouri's baxpax.org crew for our first annual fall hang, and wake up to one of the most beautiful views in the state. This year's location is going to be held at the summit of Bell Mountain (Missouri's 3rd highest peak). JBizzle and I will be arriving at the site late Friday night (Oct 7) and will be staying until Sunday morning (Oct 9). There are plenty of trees to hang from and plenty of spots for groundlings (if you so choose).
Directions to the trail heads along with maps, gps files, brochures, and pictures can be found here: Bell Mountain
We are looking forward to it and hope to see you all there!
...IF YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS HANG, WE ARE PLANNING ON HAVING A WINTER AND SPRING HANG ALSO... RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THOSE LOCATIONS ARE WELCOME!
Bell Mountain Wilderness:
For those of us who reside between the Great Rockies and the Appalachians, there is a longing for mountains, for terrain, for a place to wake up in the morning and witness a breathtaking view as you’re sipping down your morning java. These “coffee spots” as I like to call them, can be very difficult to find in the Midwest because there is no “above the tree line”. A few people are able to get out to Colorado a couple times a year, or maybe even hike for a few days on the AT with some vacation time, but the vast majority of us are pinned to day hiking local parks before the sun goes down. However, there is an alternative.
The Bell Mountain Wilderness Area, located 15 miles west of Ironton, Missouri, is a part of the Saint Francois Mountain Range. This unique mountain range formed nearly one-billion years before the Appalachians, rises above the Ozark Plateau unlike much of the state’s terrain, which was formed by erosion. The Bell mountain trail system consists of a 5.5-mile loop with either a 2.5-mile lead in trail from the north parking lot, or a 3 mile lead in trail from the west parking lot.
The north trail head is located 2 miles down County Road 2228, right off of Hwy A. This lead-in trail is very moderate and recommended for those who are looking for an easy way to a view. Once you reach the loop you can choose to continue south a half mile and ascend Bell Mountain, or you can take the loop west and descend down to Joe’s Creek. The two mile hike along Joe’s Creek provides a beautiful example of some of Missouri’s waterways and is a great place to fill up water before a steep 400’ climb up the southwestern portion of the mountain.
The western trail head is located directly off Hwy A, 5 miles south of County Road 2228. This portion of the trail is shared with a section of the Ozark Trail and provides the most scenic and most difficult hike to the peak. The trail begins across the road from the parking lot. Once you cross the road, prepare for a steep 2-mile climb up the west side of the mountain. Though this lead-in trail is the most difficult, it offers the most scenic views of the park overlooking Lindsey Mountain and the Shut-ins Creek below.
Though the 1,702ft summit of Bell Mountain is only the third highest point in the state, it holds the highest, most unobstructed view in Missouri. Though there are many trees on the summit, vegetation is minimal, making camp sites abundant. In addition to the beautiful camp views, the east side of the mountain provides great opportunities to boulder large rocks that litter the side of the mountain.
The Bell Mountain Wilderness provides a unique and great alternative to the Midwestern hiker who wants to get away from the office for a few days without planning for weeks and driving for days. Many times I have driven down after work on a Friday to wake up to a beautiful overlook Saturday morning. It truly is a hidden treasure.